Asia’s largest and most prominent nature and wildlife photo contest, the Nature inFocus Photography Awards. gathered around 14,000 submissions this year. The main focus of the awards is to promote environmental conservation issues, and this messaging is reflected in the contest’s entry rules.
The contest does not allow images of farmed animals, pets, or any photographs of captive animals (unless the pictures are highlighting an important animal justice issue). Animals photographed for the contest cannot be baited with food or generally influenced in any way by the photographer. There are four categories covering Animal Portraits, Habitats, Behaviors, and Conservation Issues, plus a fifth broad Creative Nature category.
The overall Photograph of the Year award went to Yashpal Rathore, a nature photographer based in Bangalore. Rathore’s incredible winning image of a Greater Short-nosed Fruit Bat took months of planning after he first noticed the swooping bats when he was picking his son up from school one evening.
“I visualize the image that I am hoping to achieve and then I keep working on it for weeks, sometimes even months,” says Rathore. “I only stop once I have executed the desired result.”
Divya Mudappa, a conservation scientist on this year’s jury, says the eye-catching image is timely, considering bats have been recently scorned as the source of the current viral pandemic, and technically impressive.
“This image caught my attention the minute I saw it,” says Mudappa. “There were multiple aspects about it – that it is literally in our backyard, a species that is usually in the news for the wrong reasons, but still fascinates many people – and this photographer had gone to lengths to capture it in such a beautiful way that it can only evoke awe and affection towards it”
Another highlight comes in a wonderful, and rare, glimpse at the Ganges River Dolphin from photographer Ganesh Chowdhury. There are thought to be around 3,000 of these endangered dolphins left, and jury member Dhritiman Mukherjee suggests it is unusual to see such a boisterous performance from this usually shy animal.
“A photograph that is new and unique, showcases a rare natural history moment and makes an emotional connect at the same time checks all boxes for me,” says Mukherjee. “Ganesh Chowdhury’s stunning photograph of a sub-adult Ganges River Dolphin does all that and more. I have never seen such an intimate portrait of this shy animal, featuring almost its entire body, with such an adorable expression to boot.”
A Nemo, an Anomene, Indonesia – Digant Desai
The Boxer, Qatif, Saudi Arabia – Mofeed Abu Shalwa
Take a look through our gallery at more top shots from this stunning nature photography contest.
Source: Nature inFocus
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